*Disclaimer: The following article is not representative of Mary Larsen’s thoughts or values, and she is not liable for the views expressed in the following commentary. In other words, don’t blame her for what this moron says.
My gorgeous wife, the author of this wonderful blog, has asked me to contribute to her venture. Originally I balked at the idea of joining the blogoshphere because she is the smarter one of us both (I’m seriously not afraid to admit it), and I knew that anything I wrote just wouldn’t be as good as what she had written. She’s the Tall Mom for god’s sake. What could I ever say that would speak to her audience? Even when she was on tv, and doing events, I was always just the escort holding her bag, or the guy lurking in the corner somewhere. Essentially, I’m the Jason Hoppy to her Bethenny Frankel. (ooohhhhh, too soon?) But, then something hit me, I did have something to say to her audience, but more importantly, I really wanted to speak to, and possibly for, their spouses.
You know what I’ve noticed? Pregnancy/babies are kind of like weddings – it gets everyone up in arms and no one really cares about the groom, or the guy. The focus is always on the bride, or the mom – and rightfully so. It’s really all about them, and they deserve the attention. But, as a man, I’d like to take this time to talk to the long forgotten, oft underappreciated men in your lives. My dear pregnant ladies and moms, you can read this too. I promise. Don’t worry, for if you do, your face won’t melt off like the guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I can’t guarantee how politically correct this article will be, but you’ll do just fine. So, while you may, or may not enjoy reading this, I’ll certainly enjoy writing it. Oh, and if you think my wife is a nerd, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. So, if you find while you are reading you don’t understand some of the references within this text, just Google them. Actually, ask your spouses what they mean. They will probably know their significance, and it will give them a great false sense of intelligence and importance if you ask them. Alright, enough context, let’s move on to the show.
Jack Bauer is my hero. He is the ultimate male. Seriously, name any other guy and they don’t even come close to Jack – not even by a longshot. Arnold? Chuck Norris? Bruce Lee? Rocky? Khan? Tony Stark? Donald Trump? Nope, nope, nope, nope and nope. A million times nope. Superman secretly wears Jack Bauer pajamas. Yup, Jack Bauer is the ultimate male because he loves his country, hunts terrorists, is resourceful, has a moral code (albeit a little gray), isn’t afraid to cry it out, doesn’t take crap from anyone, has some serious daddy issues, makes mistakes, but most importantly, never, ever, under any circumstances, let’s anyone screw with his family/loved ones. I read an old saying once – if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, but Jack Bauer says it’s a chicken, then it’s a fucking chicken. Suffice it to say, no one has the combination of characteristics that Jack has at his disposal.
Ok, so why am I singing great songs of praise about Jack? Well, say what you will about him, but Jack loved his family more than anything. In the end, all he wanted to do was be a good husband/boyfriend and dad. Now, I’m a new a dad and I have absolutely no god damn clue about what the hell I’m doing. But I know one thing – I’m trying the best I possibly can, and I’m doing a poor-to-mediocre job of it. There are so many questions regarding kids. Literally, like billions. But, truly, THERE ARE NO ANSWERS FOR KIDS! I mean, people say there are, but none of their “answers” coincide. All the tips are different and/or contradict each other, thereby making them all completely useless. Trying to decipher kids, I’ve decided, is more complex than trying to explain the Theory Of Relativity to a goldfish. In the end, I see only one constant about kids – having them is an unpredictable existence that inspires a constant stream of rabid emotions which range from, “awesome!” to “oh-my-god-you’re- a-pain-my-ass.” So what do I do? Well, when it comes to my kid – knowing that there is no manual for him – I look to the ultimate male for answers.
Extended family pissing me off? WWJBD? Kid’s gotta be changed in the middle of the night, and I’m beyond exhausted? WWJBD? Some strange lady wants to touch my kid with dirty, unwashed, unsanitized hands after coming out of the bathroom? WWJBD? You get the idea.
So, the following tips are my thoughts on what it means/takes to be a new dad, as inspired by my best guess on what I believe Jack Bauer would recommend as a dad.
The first, and only rule you need to know:
Your wife is the most important part of your life. She comes first – before anything. Everything else falls into place once you recognize this. And, honestly, if you haven’t figured this out by now, then you’ve got a lot of hard learnin’ ahead of you son.
Pregnancy and pre-baby tips:
1. Your wife is going to be a real pain-in-the-ass – She’s gonna nag, and ask you to do things all the time. Do this, do that. The lists are endless. You’ll often hear weird shit come from her like, “I need ice cream and pickles. Now!” My favorite is when she’ll yell at you, “hand me that blanket please!” when the aforementioned blanket is literally a foot and a half away from her hand. Oh, and, she’s yelling because you’re in a room across the other side of the house. You’re going to want to tell her off, or tell her to do it herself. This is not abnormal. It’s ok to embrace this urge. But, for the love of the gods, don’t actually do it. Pregnant womens hormones are more ablaze than a horny eighteen year old kid who’s about to get laid for the first time. Just do what she asks because you don’t want to face her wrath (not even Khan’s wrath matches that of a pissed-off pregnant lady), but also because of the first rule and, oh yeah, she’s carrying your kid.
2. Don’t listen to friends or family about naming your kid – They’re not you, and they don’t have to live with the kid for the rest of his life. Talk about it with your wife and come up with a name you both like. You guys want to name your kid Jamiroquai because you really like his music and he speaks to you? Go for it. To be honest, just between us guys, she’s gonna name the kid whatever she wants anyway. Just agree with her. Why? Because of that pesky first rule, and she’s the one who’s gotta push that watermelon(!) out. But, be sure you demand the naming rights to the family pet. You deserve at least that.
3. Read the baby books – Remember that movie Knocked Up? This is actually the one piece of truly practical advice it offers. Don’t argue, don’t bitch, and don’t act tough. You don’t have to read all of them – just read one. Granted, it’s a pain in the ass, but if you put one in The John, and make yourself read at least one chapter per visit – you’ll bang that thing out in a week. Better yet, when you start blurting out random knowledge about contractions, mucus plugs, and bloody shows like I did, you’re gonna look like a hero.
4. Take your wife out – Make her feel special. She feels huge, ugly, and she more than likely has crippling acid-reflux (which, by the way, gives her some nasty ass stank breath). Yes, you need to make sure she feels appreciated because she’s your wife, but also to avoid the illogical and asinine hormonal rage fits that WILL rear their ugly heads. (Side note: your wife will cry for no reason, fart, burp, pee her pants, and go to the bathroom every two minutes. Nope, not sexy at all. But, you better tell her she is, and work hard at planning fun shit to do so you can get your mind off of the awful side effects of the pregnancy.) It doesn’t have to be elaborate, maybe take her to her favorite food truck, or go for a walk in the local park. I don’t know what the hell she’s gonna want – you’ve gotta figure that out. She’s your wife, not mine. I took my wife out for tacos. Regardless, whatever she likes, man up and do it. Maybe you’ll get lucky that night (unless you are in the third trimester, then you have no hope. No hope at all.)
5. Stay the fuck away from Babies-R-Us – This is the land where all the good things in this world are led out to pasture. Crying babies, angry moms, defeated dads, useless help, and a completely disorganized hell-hole-with-no-selection are some of the terrible prizes that await your arrival should you choose to go. But where do I shop for all my baby stuff you ask? Amazon.com. Get an account. Now. It’s cheaper, and there are no little brats screaming about how they want some douchebag toy they’re going to forget about and lose two weeks from now.
6. While you’re at it, stay the fuck away from minivans too – They are Satan’s creation. The minivan is a tactile testament to how one has given up on their individualism and life itself. Once you purchased one, you’ve declared to the world that you’re no longer human and that you’ve devolved into a sentient, albeit barely lucid, baby factory whose chief exports are piss, shit, and half eaten Cheerios.
Minivaners (the scientific name for minivan owners), will say things to you like, “oh, I love my minivan, there’s so much room! You should totally get one. You have a family now.” The literal translation of this to human language is, “I hate my existence, and I want you to get one of these life-sucking-blackholes-from-which- there-is-no-escape because I want to feel better about the fact that someone tricked me into getting one.” Minivaners are dangerous folk, and they will play Jedi mind tricks on you. So, when one of these creatures tries to talk you into getting one, don’t even dignify their poison with a response. Literally, just turn around and walk in the absolute opposite direction. No, actually, run.
7. Don’t freak out about the baby’s room – It’s nice to have it done before the baby arrives, but it’s really not a big deal. The kid doesn’t sleep in there for the first three to six months anyway. The only necessity is the changing station – you need a place to keep the library of shit that’s required to change your kid. If, however, you are the A-type personality who needs it done immediately, please decorate it the way you and your wife like it. Monkeys, elephants, nautical, Lost, The Lord of the Rings, Victoria’s Secret, Columbian drug lord for all I care, the theme possibilities are endless. Seriously, whatever you like, do it to the max. Trust me, your kid won’t know the difference when it’s 3am, and he’s crying because he’s got the world’s worst diaper rash due to you being the asshole who forgot to put his Butt Paste on the other day. You’ll know the difference, however, because you’ll be staring at those four prison walls all night long. So you better damn well like it. Or, again, just let your wife pick it all out. It’ll make her happy.
8. Write down what you want your kid to be – When you’ve completed your baby’s room, get a poster board, or chalk board, and write you’re your core values, ideas, quotes, or wants for your child. How do you want your kid to grow up, and by what tenants should he live his life? You could have only one, or you could have one hundred. Doesn’t matter. Just write them down, and then put it above his changing station. Why? Because when you’re changing him at 3am, and you’re tired beyond words, it’s easy to get pissed off at him for keeping you up all this time. (Trust me, this really does happen, and it will definitely happen to you.) When you hang that poster, you can look up during your lowest, tired moment, and it will be a reminder of why you had him, what kind of person he will grow up to be, and what kind of dad you’re trying to become. You forge your child’s life, and he will live it the way you facilitate it. My favorite quote from the board we have? “The Force will be with you…always.” Yes, nerdy, but if you like Star Wars (and you can be sure my kid will) then you get it.
9. Fuck Cloth diapers – Oh my Christ, the cloth diapers. My wife and I had a very public conversation about this very subject. The idea is nice, but they, like minivans, are satan’s creation. Clothies (the scientific name for cloth diaper parents) are not as prevalent as minivaners, but they are just as annoying and twice as dangerous. “Oh, they save you money,” is a common quote of theirs. They’ll also say, “oh, it’s good for the environment. It feels good to be green.” Seriously, all you should hear when these granola-eating-clowns speak is, “blah, blah, blah, look at me, I’m self-important.” They’re like those guys that wear the faded Tide t-shirts just to be ironic. They are caricatures of themselves. Look at ‘em…
Freaks. Trust me, stay away from these fuckers. Don’t get stuck on the idea of saving money. It’s not worth it. And it’s also a myth. You have to get at least twenty of the damn things and you pay an up-front cost of like $30 per diaper. Most importantly, the last thing you’re going to want to do at 3am while your kid is crying, and you are so sleep deprived that you’ve turned into a walker from The Walking Dead, is spray your kid’s shit into the toilet. Want more reasons? I got ’em. You already do a lot of laundry, right? Well, your kid will only have three or four outfits that fit him, and he will piss or puke all over them throughout the day. Naturally, he’ll need to be changed constantly, and as a result, you’ll have double the laundry. If you add cloth diapers to that mix, you’ve now quadrupled your load. By the way, don’t even think about doing separate washes because then you’ll never leave the laundry room. You’ll do ten times the laundry! Ultimately, it’s inevitable that you’d mix shitty diapers with your clothes just to save time. Oh my god, I need to shower just thinking about it. Still not convinced? No problem. When you finally have a moment to go out with your buddies because your wife has taken your child out to visit your mother-in-law, you’re immediate response will be, “sorry dude, can’t make it. I’ve gotta fix, stuff, then fold these FUCKING CLOTH DIAPERS for the REST OF THE NIGHT!” Save yourself now. Get. Regular. Diapers.
10. Get Netflix, or at least a proper equivalent – Don’t bother with the DVD mailing version. Just go with the digital Netflix. When you eventually have your kid sleeping on your chest, and it’s the first time he’s been able to sleep since early yesterday morning, you’ll realize that you’re helpless. You can’t get up, you’re legs are numb, your back is on fire, you haven’t eaten in ten hours, but, your kid, praise the gods, isn’t crying. He’s finally asleep. So, don’t you dare move. Recognize the fact that you’re there for the long haul, reach for the clicker, and be cool with the idea that you’re about to get Lost with your friends Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Locke, Jacob, The Smoke Monster and co. for the rest of the night. Or is it morning? What the fuck day is it anyway? God, I’m so tired…
4 8 15 16 23 42